After last season’s playoff sweep (and Paul Pierce’s trolling), the Wizards and Raptors can now be considered a team with a history. The Wizards are coming off a rough loss at home against the Clippers while the Raptors will be trying to regroup after a loss in Chicago.
These teams last met on November 28, where the Wizards lead by as many as 10 but big games from DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, plus a buzzer beater from Cory Joseph ultimately gave the Raptors an 84-82 victory.
When: 7:30 p.m. ET on December 30, 2015
Where: The Air Canada Centre in Toronto
TV: CSN Washington, TSN1/3/4 in Canada
Radio: 99.1 WNEW in DC, TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto
Alan Anderson (ankle), Bradley Beal (leg), Drew Gooden (calf), Gary Neal (quad), and Nene (calf) are all out for the Wizards. With DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas recently returning to action for the Raptors, they should have everyone available.
Keys to the game:
Bait the backcourt into taking jumpers...
DeRozan and Lowry have been inefficient from most spots on the floor this year. Forcing them to take long jumpshots (from anywhere for DeRozan, and anywhere but the top of the top of the key for Lowry) is likely to lead to good things for the Wizards.
…and whatever you do, don’t foul them.
The Raptors are living at the line this year, drawing 22.8 personal fouls per 100 possessions, good for second in the league. DeRozan and Lowry account for the majority of these, with 8.4 and 5.7 free throws, respectively.
The biggest concern here for the Wizards will be Kelly Oubre, who has performed incredibly well since his insertion into the starting lineup, but is averaging 3.2 fouls per game (and 6.0 per 100 possessions) as a starter.
Thankfully, Otto Porter (a.k.a. DeMar DeRozan kryptonite) seems to be coming back into form after his thigh injury and can spend time on DeRozan if Oubre struggles.
Most likely Wizard Killer: Patrick Patterson
The Wizards have struggled to defend stretch big men for years, and Patterson is no exception. He’s shooting just 31% from deep this year but letting it fly nearly four times per game. Look for him to go 6-8.
All data and shot charts from nba.com and current as of 12/29/15.